Fear The Walking Dead's Jenna Elfman has been discussing the show's recent midseason premiere episode and explained how the flying zombie scene was achieved. Returning after a two-month hiatus, "People Like Us" picked up where Fear The Walking Dead season 4 left off and revealed how the likes of Alicia, Strand and Morgan have been faring (not very well, incidentally) since the dramatic events of the midseason finale and the reveal that Madison was presumed dead. However, while the characters were attempting to piece their post-apocalyptic lives back together, a storm was brewing, quite literally, as strong winds began to hurl the amassed undead high into the air.
The episode's final moments saw Al's SWAT vehicle become trapped directly in the middle of the zombie maelstrom, with both the budding journalist and her passenger, June, previously known as Laura/Naomi, recoiling in terror at the airborne corpses. Since her introduction at the outset of season 4, June has undergone considerable development in Fear The Walking Dead, going from a distrustful survivor reluctant to form bonds with others to forming a makeshift family in an abandoned school bus with John and Charlie, assuming the role of surrogate mother to the troubled youngster.
Jenna Elfman, the actress who portrays June in the show, has been discussing the return of Fear The Walking Dead, her own character's future and the stunts she witnessed on-set, while also confirming that this week's fish-gutting scene was completely real and required a specialist lesson from a fisherman. Speaking with TV Guide, Elfman said of the flying zombie moment:
"I think they had harnesses on and were being pulled... That was crazy! I was sitting inside the SWAT van with Maggie [Grace, fellow actress] watching these walkers fly past and slam into the SWAT van right in front of our faces, these stunt people going through this. They worked on that for a long time, figuring out how that was all gonna be. I actually have a fun little video that I'll post at the right time which was my point of view from inside the SWAT van with these stunt people hitting the window and smashing against the car. Literally flying by the window. It was so real and so creepy in a fun way."
Many television series planning a scene that involves people flying through the air might be tempted to resort to CGI in order to achieve the effect and Fear The Walking Dead should be commended for their dedication to practical methods. The fact that stunt workers were genuinely hurtling through the air and slamming against a van with actors inside certainly added to the visual impact of the scene and the shock value of seeing airborne zombies. The stunt people involved should also be given huge credit for a genuinely impressive and unnerving set piece.
As effective as the wind-carried walkers were however, it remains to be seen as to whether the harsh elements can provide a genuine threat in the second half of Fear The Walking Dead's fourth season. Both Fear and its parent series have built a reputation for quality villains but the spinoff's recent marketing and the midseason premiere have both pointed to a huge storm being the main focus of peril for the forthcoming run of episodes. As fun as flying zombies are, will bad weather be an engaging enough story to keep viewers watching?
Fear The Walking Dead continues August 19th with 'Close Your Eyes' on AMC.
Source: TV Guide